New Zealand Steel Glenbrook Plant

Engineering Plant (eg railway, locomotive, car, plane)


The production of steel from titanomagnetite sand is a world first, and this plant at Glenbrook, South Auckland, is the only one of its type. It was designed to use a process largely developed by New Zealand engineers to produce steel from indigenous ironsand and sub-bituminous coal – the biggest single-site development in New Zealand

The original plant, designed to produce 150,000 tonnes/year of steel billets, was built between 1967 and 1969 then commissioned in 1970. It was then subject to extensive modifications with additional plant and other improvements which were completed in 1978.

The Stage 1 expansion from 150 000 tonnes/year to 750 000 tonnes/year commenced in late 1985.

The following features were all optimised in the original 150 000 tonnes/year plant:

1. The utilisation of the multiple hearth furnaces to pre-heat the
ironsand concentrate and de-volatilise the coal.
2. The hot pan conveyors which transport this material to the kiln.
3. The reduction kiln process.

Although the major plant items have been used elsewhere in the world (for different purposes) the configuration of the plant and the method of operation are unique.

The plant design also includes significant innovations to improve productivity and reduce operating costs including a 34 MW capacity co-generation plant.

Related IPENZ Records:
New Zealand Steel Slurry Pipeline
Taharoa ironsand mining and shiploading

Owner: New Zealand Steel Ltd
Designers: W S Atkins & Partners
Contractors: Dillingham – Stevenson

Stage 1 Expansion (iron and steel making only)
Project managers/engineers: Davey McKee (Stockton) Ltd
Major plant contractors: G E C Materials Handling Ltd, Lurgi GmbH (kiln) Elkem A/S (melters), Flakt – Aust. (waste gas treatment), Davey McKee (KOBM)

Heritage recognition
IPENZ “Engineering to 1990” project

This item of New Zealand’s engineering heritage was recognised as part of the IPENZ “Engineering to 1990” project which the Institution organised to help celebrate the country’s sesquicentenary in 1990. A plaque was unveiled to mark the significance of this place as part of the development of the nation.


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Glenbrook, South Auckland


Access Info
Public tours by arrangement.

Nature of Engineering
New Zealand Innovations, Manufacturing and Industrial Processing